彩神邀2.0邀请码UNHCR renews opposition to Australia's hardline border policies
CANBERRA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Australia's hardline border policies are putting lives at risk, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned.
Thomas Vargas, head of the UNHCR's Indonesia agency, said on Monday that the organization would continue to fight against Australia's border policies regardless of which party wins the upcoming general election.
He said the turn-back policies used by Australia's Border Force to prevent asylum seekers from arriving in the country by boat "just don't work."
"If you turn someone back or push them away, you risk pushing them into harm's way - and that's what is so terrible about these types of policies - rather than rescuing them, bringing them to safety and then figuring out how best they can be helped," Vargas told News Corp Australia.
"One country might say 'Yes, it's working for us', but that leaves other countries to deal with the situation and inevitably we are all in this together."
The governing Liberal-National Party coalition (LNP) has made strict border control one of its signature policies since it took power after the 2013 election.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) shortly after the 2013 election, when he was the minister for immigration.
Morrison has sought to make border protection one of the key issues in the lead-up to the election, repeatedly attacking Bill Shorten, leader of the Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP), on the issue.
However, polls project that Shorten and the ALP is set to win the election, which is due to take place in May, in a landslide.
Vargas said the UNHCR would continue to oppose the policy regardless of which party was in power, instead pushing their position that "countries work together to rescue any boats in distress."
"One way or another, governments have to find ways to work together to make sure those two things can happen and that not any one government is saddled with finding the solution and no one else is helping," he said.
"If you have a situation where people are not safe in their own country, and their lives are at risk if they do not leave, you can try to deter them all you want but there will be people that will risk their lives to try and save their lives and those of their families," Vargas added.
"So unless these wars stop, a pushback policy is ultimately not going to work."